Paul Rodgers: QUEEN of Douchebags
I'm doing a rare thing tonight... I'm posting some songs out of anger. Angry posting is kind of like drunk dialing. It's a moment where maybe it would have been wiser to sit down and calmy think things through, but your body just says "FUCK THAT - I'M CALLING THIS DICK, NOW!" (Yes, your body is a hotheaded redneck, just waiting to blow his top.)
Well tonight I'm posting these songs because I'm calling a few dickheads out. I recently wrote a column for a magazine called PLAYLIST, and writing that column stirred up some old feelings I've had about a couple of classic rock bands: Queen and Bad Company (and more specifically, vocalist Paul Rodgers).
Growing up as an adolescent from the late 1970s, I loved Queen. When you're six years old, you're not looking for "angular" postpunk like Television or edgy glam rock like Brian Eno. You're looking for fun, and nothing was more fun to me on the radio dial than QUEEN. My older brother had a 7" with the theme from "Flash Gordon" on one side and "Another One Bites the Dust" on the other. Back then, that was a desert island disc for me.
On the other hand, I can't think of a single moment in my life where I haven't totally loathed the music of Paul Rodgers and Bad Company. What sucks more than the insipid "Feel Like Makin' Love"? Oh yeah, almost every other song they recorded. Have you ever tried to sit through the coda of "Shooting Star"? It's unbearable... utter shit. I mean, just look at their debut album cover here. To paraphrase TRUE ROMANCE, "Oh, that's imaginative! I have more taste in my penis."
But now, because of the moneygrubbing assclowns in Queen (minus bassist John Deacon and - of course - deceased singer Freddie Mercury), Queen is now fronted by THIS guy:
And not only that, but they're going to be playing his songs too! You know, it's bad enough what Queen did to its own legacy as it petered out (in America, at least... they remained pretty huge in the rest of the world) through the late 1980s, releasing drab records for middle aged people who didn't mind getting 2 good songs per record. Now they have to taint their legacy with second rate bullshit like Rodgers' "All Right Now" (which he recorded with his first band of lunkheads, Free).
Even on its worst day, Queen could always lay claim to Freddie Mercury, without a doubt the most theatrical frontman ever to grace the rock stage and easily at the front line for the race for best rock vocalist, period.
Look, I'm asking you to forget all about all that goofy 80s shit like "I Want to Break Free" and "Radio Ga-Ga." You've got to go back to the beginning, to Queen's first album. You'll still find all the camp and pomp that you'd expect from these garish bastards, especially on a song like "Liar". You want more cowbell? There it is, right at the beginning of the song, right before the cock rock guitar breakdown. It sounds so gay and so badass at the same time.
"Doing All Right" is from the same album, and it's one of those songs whose abscence from the classic rock radio format baffles me. It starts out like a Carole King song, then we get some country-ish guitar. Mercury sings this little flitty falsetto part and the song goes jazzy for a few beats before the big Thin Lizzy solo. This is way, way better than any Bad Company song, but if you've never owned this album, there's almost no way you could have heard it.
Queen followed that self-titled debut with an even weirder record in QUEEN II (okay, so the TRUE ROMANCE comment applies to this title... whatever. Mercury makes up for this by singing in a frigging cape the rest of his career). A concept record about god-knows-what, this thing was custom made for LSD-induced listening. Sadly, I've never enjoyed it that way, so I can never truly appreciate the effect all the multi-tracking in "Father to Son" could have on my brain.
As the years went on, Queen's albums became more eclectic. One one record, you might find a rockabilly number, a Led Zeppelin-esque dinosaur rocker and a vaudeville tune all mashed up against each other. It certainly wasn't for everyone, and as I grew older, I gradually stopped listening to the band. They'd pop up occasionally, with a one-off slice of genius like their pairing with David Bowie on THE HOT ZONE's"Under Pressure", reminding me in my cynicism that rock n' roll should never be ashamed of bombast.
Sure, they're a guilty pleasure. But I don't feel half as guilty as Brian May and Paul Rodgers should feel every night they tour around cashing in on the Queen name while a heterosexual moron tries in vain to wear the crown of Freddie Mercury. Silly Paul. There can be only one.
(While I come down a little hard on Brian May in my column, I felt like I should at least post one of my favorite Queen songs that he sang rather than Freddie. I give you the folky, 70s-A.M.-radio stylee of "Long Away", from another decent Queen album, A DAY AT THE RACES.)
FOR MORE ON QUEEN:
Queen Zone:Features .mp3s of fans covering Queen songs. I would imagine that is some hilarious shit.
Queen Online:The band's official home page
Queen World: The official international Queen fan club
Freddie Mercury, aka Farrokh Bulsara
Kween, the Japanese tribute band. Accept no substitutes.